May 16, 2012

Visiting the Carolinas, part 1

Our trip started off with a direct flight into the Charlotte airport. Don't you just love direct flights? Flying into this airport was a treat! I had forgotten how much I love that airport. Have you ever been? You might be asking how could I love an airport? If you actually have time to enjoy it you might be surprised. The airport is designed to let in lots of natural light so it feels bright. There are white rocking chairs scattered about that are perfect for relaxing. You get the feeling of a warm Southern welcome. There's also art and pottery on display and lots of information about the history of N.C. It was a breath of fresh air to step into that airport, crazy huh?

After flying in our first stop was Shelby, NC to meet one of my favorite potters Ron Philbeck. I've been admiring his work and following his blog from afar. I was so excited to finally see his work in person and meet him. It was not a disappointment. It was better than I could have ever imagined. Except for some weird reason I was nervous and I did forget to take a picture of us together. I kinda felt like I was meeting someone famous. There's also something about being in someone's space and snapping a bunch of pictures that makes you feel weird. I did get a few good ones though.

I was very excited when I saw that sign showing us the way. The property where Ron's gallery is located was gorgeous. Full of bright green trees and alive with singing birds and buzzing insects.

Ron was very hospitable and let us look all around. It was great to see his work in progress and see how his space is set up. His gallery was perfect! The pottery was the star and the natural light flowed in beautifully. I really enjoyed the visit and was very inspired.

It was hard to choose which pieces of his I wanted to make my own. A lot of our decision was based on what would travel well. I chose one of  his clothes line mugs, which I made sure had a pair of panties, and a whimsical owl plate. The plate could be used practically or, thanks to the way he designed the back, displayed on the wall.

You really should give Ron a visit if you're ever in the Shelby area. Lucky for you if you're not he has many great ways you can connect with him and his work. I really enjoy following his blog which will also lead you to his Etsy store and Facebook page. He writes regularly and is excellent about updating his Etsy store. I can't say enough good things about him! Since we were hungry for some good BBQ he recommended a great place.

Oh how I've missed pig decor! Bridges BBQ was excellent. I loved the teal seating and the diner vibe. The hush-puppies hit the spot. Let's just say authentic Q isn't exactly easy to come by here in Nebraska. Even though the pig was good and tea was perfectly sweet. I enjoyed the people the most. I miss smiles and eye contact and genuinely friendly people.

While we were in Charlotte for just a day and half, we stayed with Cookie Monster's grandmother.  She's a lot of fun!


Her home is full of whimsy and various things she has collected and created over the years. Her backyard is a sanctuary to both birds and squirrels. There's a continuous battle for the abundant seed supply.

While we were in Charlotte we got to visit with the Cookie Monster's aunt and her family. We also got to see our first ever dance competition that his cousin was competing in. Even though it was a short visit it was a memorable one. When I look back though my favorite part was visiting with Cookie Monster's other aunt Pam. 

Visiting with Aunt Pam in the rehabilitation center where she's been staying was such a JOY. This is one inspiring women. When she was at the prime of her life she slipped on some ice and sustained a brain injury. Since the injury life for her has been up and down and quite a fight at times. But that's what she has always done, fought. She has so much to be down about but she smiles and jokes and is absolutely wonderful to be around. Her vigor for life is contagious. I'm so thankful for her! 

After Charlotte we drove to South Carolina to explore and visit with family that moved there recently, so stay tuned for part 2.

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